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Chicago Film Laboratory, Inc.Financing the American Family (ca. 1935)

something has gone horribly wrong 8-p
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How the Household Finance Corporation helps working families with installment loans during the Depression.


This movie is part of the collection: Prelinger Archives

Producer: Chicago Film Laboratory, Inc.
Sponsor: Household Finance Corporation
Audio/Visual: Sd, B&W
Keywords: Economics; Consumerism; Great Depression (1930s)

Creative Commons license: Public Domain


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Average Rating: 4.00 out of 5 stars4.00 out of 5 stars4.00 out of 5 stars4.00 out of 5 stars

Reviewer: Christine Hennig - 4.00 out of 5 stars4.00 out of 5 stars4.00 out of 5 stars4.00 out of 5 stars - June 26, 2006
Subject: Never Borrow Money Needlessly, Just When You Must...
This film, made by the Household Finance Corporation in the early 30s, presents a middle class family that is struggling with debts. The answer for these people, amazingly enough, is supposed to be getting another loan. The bank turns them down, saying that they canât afford to deal with small borrowers. Just as they begin to sink into despair, they turn on the radio, which by an incredible coincidence is broadcasting a detailed infomercial about HFC. They go to HFC, and after they determine that theyâre good housekeepers and all-around nice people by giving them a home inspection, they promptly get the $300 loan theyâve been wanting, which was quite a chunk of change back in the early 30s. The wife asks what would happen if her husband died or they otherwise lost his income. The loan officer placates them by saying they wouldnât expect them to âdo the impossibleâ and as long as theyâre paying what they can, itâll be ok (but he puts none of this in writing, so good luck if hubby really does kick the bucket). This film just screams early 30s in the way it was made, and its cheesily and charmingly earnest in its propositions, which probably seemed even more outrageous to Depression-era audiences, many of whom were wiped out because of borrowing, than to people today. The family depicted, though, doesnât seem to be very hard hit by the Depression, so maybe they were ripe for this kind of solution. I wouldnât laugh to hard at the film today, though, considering how debt-ridden most of us are.
Ratings: Camp/Humor Value: ****. Weirdness: ****. Historical Interest: *****. Overall Rating: ****.

Reviewer: Cherokee Jack - 4.00 out of 5 stars4.00 out of 5 stars4.00 out of 5 stars4.00 out of 5 stars - April 20, 2004
Subject: Paging Phil Rizzuto!
Banks are the enemy of the working man; HFC is your real friend! That seems to be the take home message from this 1930s version of an infomercial. HFC will help you, with conditions of course. The narrator slides past the fact that a loan officer would come inspect your house and standard of living. When the wife asks what would happen should her husband (and sole source of income)got sick, the loan officer gives a pretty evasive and noncommittal response, to which the husband blurts out, "Well, that's fair enough!" And they all lived happily ever after on Tobacco Road. Two thumbs up.

Reviewer: Spuzz - 4.00 out of 5 stars4.00 out of 5 stars4.00 out of 5 stars4.00 out of 5 stars - May 10, 2003
Subject: Get out of debt.. to get into more debt!
For some odd reason, I kept thinking that the Household Finance Corperation, which is a legitamite operation, was prying on the average Mr and Mrs Smith to make the debts pile up. After a nifty animated sequence demonstrating how it's hard to get out of debt, we see Mr Smith, going to a bank, and asking for a loan. He doesnt have a bank account (!!) and wants a loan of 300 dollars. No can do, says the bank. He then returns to what seems to be a VERY comfortable home. After sending his kids to bed (the kids scamper off obediently (hah!)) Mr and Mrs Smith fret about what they're going to do. They turn on the radio to violins (!!) and then conveniently a rather long ad for the HFC comes on. After being convinced this is the way to go, we then cut to the offices of a rather greasy looking HFC employee, who can't stop leering at Mrs Smith. Soon, the HFC employee approves the loan, pays the cash, and all is swell! At least til next month, when they start collecting. Highly reccomended!

Shotlist

FAMILIES HOUSEHOLDS FINANCE ECONOMICS BUDGETS MONEY HOUSES HOMES DAILY LIFE DEPRESSION HISTORY MEN WOMEN
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